Last week I read an interesting post by Dannah Gresh on the book that Nathan Bransford blogged about selling 10 million copies in 6 weeks–Fifty Shades of Grey. What I found most curious were the comments. Oh, the controversy. Women defending the book.
The comments took on a life of its own.
Reading them made me sad and gave more proof that we are in the last days.
What do you think?
I’m happy to be able to participate in Marriage Monday. Today’s topic is all about romance. What’s your experience with romance in marriage? This tends to start off strong from the husband early on, but fades, often leading to disappointment.
I can’t say I have great advice for anyone. But I can share my story and maybe you can relate and not feel so alone. Or, perhaps you are a newlywed and can draw something from this post that will help you implement strategies to keep romance in place.
I still tear up watching Almanzo fall in love with Laura Ingalls and show such vulnerability on her 16th birthday on “Little House on the Prairie.” I warped my VHS tape of “Sixteen Candles” when Samantha walks out of the church and finds Jake waiting…for her. “Never Been Kissed” when Drew Barrymore’s character waits on that baseball diamond and he shows?
Be. Still. My. Heart.
And that’s where I’ve had to set up realistic expectations. Because many of my favorite romantic moments came from great imaginations, writing, and acting. Cinema. Books. But marriage contains what entertainment doesn’t.
Clogged toilets. Laundry. Groceries. Paying bills.
Once the wedding presents have nicks and smudges, it’s normal for the romance that came from dating and those early married years to cool down. I didn’t think about this. After all, my husband even created a computer program chronicling his love for me. He wrote a poem for our first anniversary with a dozen roses. In my mind, he made “16 Candles” Jake Ryan seem like a romantic wannabe.
Fast forward. Two kids. His job demanded a lot of time. Active in ministry.
I went from receiving a poem to getting e-cards.
And for a season, even that disappeared.
I felt rejected, and that quickly turned to resentment. During those years I grew in the Lord and a lot of the baggage I brought to the marriage disappeared. I didn’t need a lot of romance, but I was hungry for anything that would help me see I was viewed as something more than the family secretary, bill payer, laundry master, and diaper changer.
My advice is if this is you, be realistic and understand romance has seasons, it ebbs and flows, but if it feels forgotten, don’t be resentful. Be communicative. One day I blurted how frustrated I was and that if anything happened to me, the only grief would be because he would wonder where dinner was. That got his attention and he stepped it up. But I should have spoken up sooner, and without volcanic anger spewing everywhere.
I also felt like romance was a tit-for-tat competition. If I wasn’t receiving romantic gestures, I didn’t think it was necessary to give them. It’s not a game. It’s a marriage and wives, as hard as it is, we have to initiate a lot of things. I think romance is one of those areas I have to initiate. I have to realize my gesture might not be returned.
But romance is about the heart, and I need to keep track of my heart motives.
Because when I’m operating with the right heart, there’s nothing more romantic.
It’s Marriage Monday! e-Mom wants to hear from you, so take a look, write your post, and link up.
Here’s your chance to tell us what you’ve learned about submission in Christian marriage.
I know that for some women, this is a particularly challenging topic. If you’re uncomfortable with this one, no worries. Feel free to take a pass this time around.
However, if you’re ready to dive right in—but stumped as to how to begin—you might consider selecting one of the following writing prompts.
1. Define the Greek word for submission, “hupotasso” [hoop-ot-as-so].
2. Tell us a story. Show how your submissive attitude blessed your husband on a specific occasion.
3. Expound this biblical passage: Ephesians 5:22-33.
4. Discuss what the Bible has to say about submission outside of marriage e.g. to bosses, political leaders, and other authorities.
Or, you can cover this topic from whatever angle the Spirit leads.
You don’t need to twist my arm to tell a story, and perhaps, this is a story you’ve heard before. But I think it breaks down how simple submission is and hopefully wiped away the many, many misconceptions about it. Too many husbands use the word to treat their wives like a doormat, and too many women live independently within marriage. Before I get into my story, let me say this, I love submission in marriage. You know me well enough to know I’m not a doormat. I get my say, a lot. And yet, it’s important I not trump my husband and take over. We are a team. Yet, submission in part means as head of the home, he’s got to answer to God about how he did. I don’t envy that. But I do want to encourage him in the role. And I believe I’ll have to answer to God about how well I cheered him on.
So here’s my story.
A few years ago we were invited to a wedding out of state. I felt because of the relationship my husband had to the groom, we should go. My husband, knowing what a toll a trip would take on finances and our time with two kids, felt we should decline.
It would be tempting for me to nag on him and keep at him about how important attending would be. Trust me, I wanted to. I could see long-term, and going felt right.
But I felt that gentle nudge of the Lord request I stay silent and be prayerful.
Less than 48 hours later, my husband approached me.
“I just got a call. We’re not just asked to the wedding, I’ve been asked to be in it, as best man.”
That changed everything. He saw what an honor the request was and we both agreed to make the budget work so we could attend and my husband be in it. We had the best time, despite the many miles and short time span.
That’s submission to me. We work as a team. I give my input, but he’s allowed final say. And 99% of the time, he agrees with my input and goes with it. For that rare 1%, it’s up to me to give him that freedom to do what he believes is best on behalf of the family. Sadly, a lot of husbands take this as a pass to do what is best for them personally. That’s not how it works.
When he does something different, it’s my job to let God be God. Perhaps his choice is best, and we’ll be blessed. If he’s wrong, it’s not right to say I told you so. It’s a teachable moment for all of us.
If I allow God to work.
How about you? What are your thoughts on submission?
Emotions of the Married, Single Mom
A recent survey done by TheBump.com and ForbesWoman.com reveals that between 25% and 65% of both working and stay-at-home moms sometimes feel like married single moms. Reading the responses to this report and comments on blogs, it is quite clear that emotions run high. The deeply felt emotions these women deal with may have been birthed in an unequal distribution of chores, however as time goes on these emotions reveal there is something more significant going on. It’s no longer just about the chores. The emotions reveal cracks in fabric of the relationship. These emotions – loneliness, anger, jealousy, grief, etc – can have a profound impact on a married single mom and her marriage.
No girl grows up dreaming of a marriage where she feels abandoned by her man. Perhaps his job pulls him away from home for days, weeks or months at a time. Maybe he is gaming his time away, or drinking away the possibility of an intimate relationship. Regardless of why husbands are absent (or uninvolved), their wives experience a roller-coaster of emotions that can wreck havoc and disaster within their marriage.
Loneliness is a painful wound many married single moms quietly carry every day. Companionship and conversation are critical components of a happy marriage. When this isn’t available, a wife feels lonely and separated from her husband.
Disney Princesses trained us for ‘happily ever after’, but when Prince Charming doesn’t come home our hearts ache for our unmet expectations. Those unmet expectations become dashed dreams that may never be fulfilled and need to be grieved. There is a deep sense of loss and often questions and fears about what the future will hold.
Fear also raises its ugly head in other ways. She wonders about his activities. She worries about his safety and health. Concern for her kids becomes paramount. She becomes insecure in her role as a wife and mother. Insecurity in her marriage, in her purpose, and in her belief system begins to erode her confidence. Married single moms wonder if they still have what it takes to attract their husband’s love and attention.
It doesn’t take long for the twinges of insecurity to grow into soul-shaking jealousy. Husbands who are home every evening, who co-parent their children and date their wives become objects of comparison. Watching a husband and wife deep in intimate conversation can ignite a spark of jealousy. This envy can become a consuming fire tearing down whatever good might exist in her marriage.
Then shame sets in. When others question her situation, it validates her pain and points out the failure she feels. She’s embarrassed about her husband’s choices, often feeling she must make excuses for him. Blog comments regarding married single moms contain some deeply wounding words that cast blame on her because she chose to marry and stay with him.
For many, this growing burden of emotional pain becomes a cancer deep in the heart. All the emotional pain is fashioned into a sharpened sword called anger. They are angry with their husband’s choices. Angry about living married life alone. Angry about how Daddy’s absence affects the kids. Angry about everything.
There is so much grief that fills the heart of a married single mom. She’s said good-bye to dreams for herself and her children. She’s sad about the hours, days, and special moments that will never happen. She needs to grieve the what-if’s and the dreams she had as a bride. This grief needs to be addressed. Grieving our dreams includes being honest about those dreams, realizing they may never be fulfilled, and asking God for new dreams firmly planted in reality and truth.
Married single moms are not a new phenomenon. I have lived this life and many others have, too. We even find examples of married single moms throughout the Old and New Testaments. We can no longer avoid reality – married single moms are prevalent and their situations and burdens are real. But how have they survived and even thrived? Through the strength God provides. Through Christian community. Through the healing of wounded hearts. Through the hope provided by Jesus Christ.
Carla Anne Coroy runs the Married Single Mom blog at www.carlaannecoroy.blogspot.com. She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children. For more information, visit www.carlaanne.com.
It was two years ago July when I wrote a guest post for the site, Adding Zest to your Nest. This is a Christian site that encourages women in married se*uality. The contents might be uncomfortable for some and I absolutely understand that. What I won’t do is say it is wrong. I grew up with a generation that didn’t talk about anything. The good, the bad, the temptations, problems, nothing. And I refuse to live that way.
I’ve had infertility, a miscarriage, baby blues, hormonal issues, hysterectomy at 38, near loss of child, special need situations with that child, and so on. I don’t air dirt to air dirt, but I share my experiences in hopes one person, if even one person could be encouraged, it’s worth my “going there.”
That said, my guest post is up for repost today at Adding Zest. People still give me odd looks and many online still leave comments asking if the man in the picture is my husband. The answer is a big no! I would never, ever put my husband on a post like that. I did have his permission to write that post, though.
So if you are a married person wishing to receive Biblical encouragement in the physical intimacy department, visit Adding Zest. My repost?
Told you I don’t hold back.